Kicking Off the Summer in the Vail Valley with the GoPro Mountain Games
Celebrate the spirit of the mountain lifestyle with the GoPro Mountain Games, the nation’s largest adventure sports festival held June 8-11, 2023. During this time, Vail serves as the arena where over 3,500 professional and amateur participants from around the world compete in multiple sports that take place from the mountains to the rivers. Experience the can’t-miss event kicking off today!
The Evolution of GoPro Mountain Games
Founded in Vail, Colorado in 2002, the GoPro Mountain Games were originally the Teva Mountain Games, with the outdoor footwear brand as the title sponsor. From the beginning, the event featured amateur and professional athletes who competed in outdoor sports, such as rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, fly fishing, mountain biking, and trail running. It was an alternative mountain festival which brought together athletes and outdoor enthusiasts to show off their skills in their sport while promoting the spirit of the mountain lifestyle.
In 2013, GoPro, an action sports camera brand, became the event’s title sponsor and the name was officially changed to the GoPro Mountain Games. The partnership with GoPro allowed for more video coverage of the event as athletes provided unique perspectives while wearing the mounted camera.
Over the years, the GoPro Mountain Games has expanded its event line-up and offerings. It has become a premier outdoor adventure festival that draws in top athletes from around the world. The live music, interactive demos, art exhibits, and ample vendors featured at the games contribute to a lively mountain festival that is the perfect kick-off for summer.
What Can You Expect at the GoPro Mountain Games?
A celebration of mountain culture, the weekend is filled with opportunities for professional and amateur athletes to participate in alternative sports and unique event opportunities. Most people go to watch the competitions, where you can see athletes’ abilities up close. Event venues are set up for prime viewing throughout Vail Village, Lionshead, and Golden Peak.
The GoPro Mountain Games has become so popular because it’s an interactive and inclusive festival. Whether you participate in an event competitively or for fun, there are ample opportunities for everyone - kids and dogs included - to take part in. In addition to a weekend packed with events, visitors can also take a walk through Gear Town to check out the latest outdoor products, join a live demonstration, or enjoy free daytime music or ticketed concerts at night. Brothers of a Feather, Orebolo, and Local Natives, will light up the night scene at The Amp this year.
How Can You Get Involved in the GoPro Mountain Games?
The best part about the GoPro Mountain Games is the inclusivity of the festival. While it’s awe-inspiring to watch top professional athletes compete in their sport, spectators are also encouraged to get involved. From competitive sports to family-friendly events, there is something everyone can participate in. Check out the schedule of events and sign up online ahead of time.
Bike: There are numerous bike events for all athletic levels, such as the Oakley XC Mountain Bike race that starts at Golden Peak and races up Vail Mountain. If you’re more into road riding, there is a race for that as well. For little riders, there are several kids bike races divided by age group, starting as young as one on a balance bike.
Run: Choose your challenge with 5k, 10k, and 20k trail run options. Looking for something more fun and lower key? The mud run is a family-friendly activity that takes participants on an easy loop through Vail Village with mud-filled pits. It’s the perfect activity for those who want to participate in an event where everyone is a winner. And don’t leave your dog out of the action - there’s an event for them too! A 5k dog fun run/walk is for dogs and humans of all sizes and athletic abilities.
Climb: While you could sit back in the grass and watch the North American Cup Series, there is also a citizen climbing competition for anyone to join. If you have little climbers, head to the kids climbing wall. It’s a safe environment for them to get their energy out and learn a new skill - or maybe take up a new sport!
Kayak / Raft: The pros compete in several competitions that are fun to watch, including a sprint through Class IV rapids in Gore Creek and a sprint downstream through the heart of Vail Village. Recreational boaters can participate too. Grab your favorite river rat for two-person raft teams to race through Class II / III whitewater for the Down River R2 Raft Sprint or Raft Cross.
SUP: Test your balance and speed as you ride down the 4-mile stretch of Gore Creek from East Vail to the main Vail Village. This race will also test your agility as you duck beneath low bridges and ride the wave train. Be prepared for icy and fast waters from the winter runoff.
Fish: Professional and amateur anglers are invited to participate in a head-to-head fly-fishing challenge that includes both distance and accuracy events. New this year is the Orvis Species Slam, in which teams of two anglers have six hours to catch and release as many different species of fish. Orvis is hosting free fly-fishing casting clinics for kids 12 and under. This is a great opportunity to pick up some tips and tricks to cast like the pros they’re learning from.
Disc Golf: Did you know that disc golf is a real competitive sport, and not just a leisure activity? Prove your competitive frisbee skills in the two-day disc golf tournament, which has men’s and women’s Pro Masters and Amateur divisions.
Yoga: For those who prefer zen vibes to competitive sports, there are several opportunities for outdoor, group-led yoga sessions. Bring your mat and your sunglasses to the Zen Zone for various yoga style classes paired with live DJ tunes.
Dogs:Dockdogs has always been a fan-favorite event. Watch dogs compete for the longest or highest jump into a large water tank while trying to catch their favorite toy.. Some fear the water, which makes for even more adorable and comical viewing. Want to double the doggie cuteness? There’s lots of doggie paddling in dueling dogs, where two dogs compete head-to-head in a swim race. If the dog events are pulling on your heartstrings, Eagle County Animal Services will have dogs available for adoption at the GoPro Mountain Games, so even if you don’t compete, you need not go home empty-handed.
Where is the Best Place to Stay for the GoPro Mountain Games?
The best part about mountain culture is enjoying the serene environment after a day of outdoor play. The Inn at Riverwalk is a boutique, independent hotel that is close to the adventure, yet away from all the commotion. With plush, feather-topped mattresses and mountain or river-view rooms equipped with modern amenities and luxury bath products, The Inn is the perfect basecamp for wherever your adventures take you.
After waking up from a refreshing night’s sleep in large, comfortable rooms, start your day with the self-serve Lavazza coffee bar located in the lobby. Next, check out the gear garage for complimentary hybrid bikes or sign up for a guided adventure with exclusive discounts from local partners. Finish your day with a soak in the riverside pool and hot tub and enjoy the peace and quiet after an action-packed day.
No matter where your adventures take you, The Inn provides an authentic mountain experience unlike anywhere else in the Vail Valley. Book your stay at The Inn at Riverwalk today.